Located about 2 hours outside Sacramento, Black Chasm Cavern is a fantastic vertical cave that you can tour 364 days a year. It is an excellent example of everything from stalagmites and stalagmites to columns and helictite. When I visited it, 14 school children were enjoying the cave, and I wish I would have had these types of learning experiences at my school when I was growing up. This 45 minutes tour costs 15 dollars and runs on the hour, here is all the information.
- Opens at 9 AM during the summer and 10 AM during the winter with a tour every hour until 5 PM
- Cost 15 dollars a person (as of 2015)
- All information as of my visit in 2015
We arrived right at 10 AM and quickly jumped onto the 10 o’clock tour. Our guide told us a little bit about the history, and then we were off into the cave, which is right below the gift shop.
Instantly you start heading downward, as it is a vertical cave, this tour is pretty much 100% downstairs and is broken into three viewing platforms.
The first platform you visit is the smallest and lets you get up close with the different parts of the cave. This area has a lot of damage though, as the gold miners used to let people take parts of the cave home with them for a price.
This is also where you start to see the helictite, which is what the cave is famous for and looks like a silly straw.
From here you proceed down the steps to the second platform which is long and skinny,
This platform allows you to see the vertical depth of the cave. From here, you can even see the water which is 100 feet below and which they used to make rafting trips through. I wish they still did!
The cave is really deep, and this cavern shows it. Next, you head up and over into the majestic platform 3.
This viewing area is a massive room, about 39 feet high, that is covered in stalagmites and helictite.
The helictite is the most impressive as it is one of the caves with the best collection of this strange creation. It literally covered one of the walls.
I sat in awe of this area as there was so much to see in every direction.
Here is a video of my time there
The tour was over quickly, and I wish it would have shown us more than 3 of the 15 rooms, but it was still a fantastic example of a California cave, and I am glad I did it. I would love to hear if you have done any other caves in the comments below.